Twitter for Businesses – Part 4

Hey folks!

This will be my last and final post on the Twitter tutorial series. In this section, we will be taking a look at a couple of important aspects of how to use Twitter for your business more effectively.

Some of the things I’ll be discussing with you are:

> How to Find People to Follow & Get Followers Too!
> Mistakes to Avoid When Using Twitter
> Goodies for Making Twitter Use Easier

How to Find People to Follow & Get Followers Too!

Building a network on Twitter starts by finding people to follow. While you want to build a list of followers that is comprised of people in your target audience, you should also include a variety of other people as well.

Twitter is an amazing place to connect with people for new ideas, joint ventures and partnerships you may not find in your other business activities. By following people in your own industry, you can find inspiring ideas, opportunities to help others and the camaraderie of connecting with people who understand the ins and outs of what you do.

Every field has specific highlights and lowlights that only others in that same field can relate to and understand. When you get to know people who struggle with the same issues you have, you have the opportunity to encourage each other and offer suggestions for working through the tough stuff.

Many people in business online work in a solo enterprise, which can become extremely isolating and stifling. Twitter can be an excellent remedy for this affliction – which can lead to greater productivity and success.

There are several ways you can find people to follow on Twitter. Starting from your home page, you can look to your right and find the link that says “Everyone”. This is called the public timeline and it will show you tweets from absolutely everyone on Twitter. Read through these until you find one that interests you.

Then simply click on the username or profile picture to go to that person’s home page. Read through some of their tweets, go to their website, and read their bio – whatever you need to do to get a sense of who they are. If you like what you see, click the follow link under their picture and voila, you are following someone!

Another way to find followers is to use the “Find People” link. This is at the top of your homepage, in the navigational links. There are four different options in the Find People section.

  • Find on Twitter: Here you can search for people by their username or their real name. This is great for searching out specific Twitter users.
  • Find on Other Networks: This feature lets you import names from your Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or MSN accounts. You do need to enter your email password, but it isn’t stored and you won’t be spammed by Twitter.
  • Invite by Email: You can enter email addresses here and send them a pre-written message inviting them to Twitter.
  • Suggested Users: This little feature will offer you some possible users to follow. Many of these names are celebrities on Twitter – it may not do a whole lot for your business networking goals, but then again, you never know. You might just enjoy what they have to say!

On the bottom of your home page is the “Search” function. You can use Twitter Search to look for a username, a topic or a keyword. Type in your search word and you will instantly get a page of results containing that word. This is a great way to find followers in your niche. Again, when you see a tweet that resonates with you, go to that person’s homepage and look around a bit. If you like what you see, add them to your following list.

Once you are following a few people, you can check out their followers! Go to their home page and check out their followers. On the right side of their page, you see a link that says Following, with a block of photos underneath it. Click on the link or on a photo to go to the profile page of that Twitter user.

Finally, you can get followers by adding those who follow you. As you start tweeting and interacting with people, you will start gaining followers of your own. Many people follow everyone who follows them. Other people are more selective and only choose to follow back those who are in their niche. The choice is yours, but don’t limit yourself too much. You may miss out on some great new
friends, colleagues and customers.

Mistakes to Avoid on Twitter

There is no “right way” to use Twitter. Some people use it as a purely social platform, others use it as a teaching tool and still others use it for both of these reasons – and more. There are, however, a couple of important things to avoid doing on Twitter.

  1. The biggest mistake to avoid on Twitter is using it solely as a sales platform. If the only tweeting you do is self-promotional, you’ll burn your bridges before you have a chance to even build them properly. You need to focus on the networking aspect of Twitter before you try to sell. Spend plenty of your tweet time reaching out to others, sharing useful information and being a social butterfly. If you focus strictly on self promotion, you will be ignored or worse yet, blocked by other users.
  2. The other mistake to avoid on Twitter is spending all of your tweets on literally interpreting the “What Are You Doing?” question Twitter asks at the top of your home page. While you can certainly include information about your daily life, don’t focus solely on your mundane activities. No one cares if you are brushing your teeth or doing laundry all day long. The primary tactic on Twitter is to be engaged with other people. Ask questions, offer helpful links to things you are reading that might be of interest to your followers and seek out ways you can be useful to other users. Always remember Twitter is a networking tool – not a sales engine.
  3. Some applications that work in conjunction with Twitter allow you to set up an automatic direct message to be sent to people who begin following you. Although many people use these auto – DM features, a large number of Twitter users frown on them. Several Twitter polls have shown that a large majority of users do not like automated messages.
  4. If you do send direct messages in response to new followers, sending a link to your website – especially if you are trying to sell something – is a huge No-No! Most folks on Twitter would like to get to know you first before you start trying to sell your products and services.

Additional Goodies for Making Twitter Use Easier

There is no shortage of programs and applications used to make Twitter readily accessible and easier to use. Many of these can save you time and add convenience so you can make the most out of your Twitter time.

Some of the most helpful Twitter tools include desktop clients for accessing Twitter without needing to spend your time on the actual Twitter website. The two most popular desktop clients for Twitter are TweetDeck and Twhirl.

Desktop Applications

TweetDeck – www.tweetdeck.com

TweetDeck is an Adobe Air application that can be used on either a Mac or PC. It helps you break down the vast amount of information on Twitter into manageable sized groups, which helps you stay abreast of your conversations. You can split your TweetDeck screen into columns, helping you to sort things out.

For example, one column is for your regular tweet stream, much like your Twitter home page. However, you can also set up separate columns for your @replies, your direct messages, designated groups of people or results of a keyword search.

When you separate things into these various columns, you remove a lot of the “noise” from Twitter and can see the information most important to you. This is especially helpful so you don’t miss any replies sent to you by other users, as well as showing you direct messages instantaneously.

One big frustration with the Twitter webpage is you have no way of knowing someone has sent you a direct message, without continually checking that page. The same applies to your @replies (messages sent to you, but in the public stream.) When you use Twitter from the website, you need to keep your focus on the page so you can see what’s happening. There’s nothing wrong with that if all you are doing is tweeting, but many people prefer to multi-task and tweet throughout their day.

TweetDeck lets you continue working on the web, or any other program you may be using and alerts you when you receive messages, with a little chirp and a small pop-up window. Then, with just a glance, you can see if the tweet is a direct message, a personal @reply or a response to a keyword search or simply a general tweet from another user.

Using TweetDeck for its search feature is a great way to keep an eye on your company name, a keyword for your industry or any other topic you want to keep in your sights. For example, if you are selling golf shoes, you can set the search feature for that term and whenever someone tweets about golf shoes, it will show up in your search column.

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TweetDeck also helps you respond quickly and easily to other people in a few different ways. When you hover your mouse over a person’s avatar, you are given four options: reply, DM, ReTweet or the other actions option. The others actions button offers you a range of choices from following to translating the tweet into another language, among others.

Twhirl – www.twhirl.org


Another popular desktop client for Twitter is Twhirl. Twhirl is much smaller than TweetDeck and doesn’t have as many features, but it does give you a small compact application to tweet and follow your tweet stream. Twhirl will also let you know when you have new messages. It also has a search feature.

It also allows you to keep track of some other social networking sites such as Friendfeed, laconi, ca and Seemic. Twhirl will cross post to Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn as well.

Both TweetDeck and Twhirl have built in link-shorteners, which shrink a link to help accommodate your 140-character limit on Twitter. These are only two of the various desktop clients you can use for Twitter.

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So that’s it folks!

The atmosphere on Twitter is a bit like a party filled with generous, helpful gogetters who truly enjoy interacting with people and doing all they can to help each other out. THAT could just be the secret power of Twitter right there – real people letting down their guard just a bit and truly enjoying helping each other create successful businesses.

There is a genuine cooperative spirit on Twitter that is making it one of the most popular spots to be on the Internet.

What are you waiting for? Start tweeting and join in the revolution. Watch your business soar to levels you couldn’t have even imagined.

Cheers 🙂

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